Make A Beautiful Mess: 5 Inspiring Texture Brush Tutorials For Photoshop

Rembrandt Texture Detail

Even the soft light effects in a Rembrandt are full of texture and surface activity.

Texture can infuse your art with a sense of humanity and increase the connection between your illustrated, visual stories and your audience.

Traditional painting is almost always defined by texture.

Gessoed canvas, watercolor paper, palette knife impasto, the irregularity of real brush strokes and what the painting-spirit-guide Bob Ross referred to as “happy accidents” all combine to create a finished surface texture full of humanity.

While there are many things to love about digital painting in Photoshop, the inherent plasticity isn’t one of them.

If we fail to consider the role of texture in our digital paintings, we might accidentally produce boring, stiff, over-rendered paintings that are completely devoid of humanity.

In this post, I’ve gathered some inspiring texture brush tutorials and resources that will help you integrate texture into your digital painting workflow.

Photoshop Texture Brush Tutorial By Shawna JC Tenney:

Children’s illustrator and Oatley Academy artist Shawna JC Tenney created this awesome tutorial for adding traditional media effects to your Photoshop brushes.

What’s awesome about Shawna’s tutorial is that she uses real paint (GASP!) to create her brush textures!

It’s a super-cool trick and I think you’ll have a ton of fun with this.

Download My Free Photo Textures!

Now that Shawna has shown you how to add textures to your brushes, you’ll need to get yourself some usable textures.

But as Matt Kohr explained in his video about Building A Texture Library, you have to choose your textures wisely or you’ll end up like this guy.

Chris Oatley's Collection of High Resolution Textures for Digital Painting

Over the past few years my wife Angie and I have been creating my own library of custom, high-res textures.

…and now I’m making them available, as a free download, for you, one set at a time.

Each set of huge, free textures has an accompanying blog post where I share tips for gathering and controlling textures in your digital painting process.

Recent Collections: Wood | Brick & Stone | Concrete

I also recommend downloading these awesome Photoshop Textures by the amazing Dani Jones!

Photoshop Scatter Brush Tutorial By Me:

This is an old tutorial (I sound so timid!) but it demonstrates a completely different way to create texture brushes in Photoshop.

Creating your own brushes is a great way to find inspiration, new ideas and approaches to digital painting that you’ve never thought of before.

I created my cool stylized texture brushes to give myself ideas while I’m painting.

Download My Huge Collection Of Free Photoshop Brushes!

Click here to learn about Chris Oatley's Free

When you subscribe to my free email newsletter, I send you my huge collection of custom Photoshop brushes instantly!

You’ll get the stylized texture brushes I mentioned above.

You’ll also get my splatter brushes and, most importantly, my essential brushes.

Each brush set was created for a different purpose so be sure to check out each of the links above for guidance on how to use them.

Make a beautiful mess with these awesome texture brush tutorials!
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Creating A “Textured Canvas” Effect By Matt Kohr:

Matt Kohr has assembled an epic collection of digital painting tutorials on his site Ctrl+Paint.

Here’s a series that shows you how to create a “textured canvas” effect in your digital paintings.

Download Matt’s block brush.

Download Matt’s diffuser brush.

Don’t Fall Into A Texture Trance!

Now don’t just go adding texture everywhere like you’re some sort of weirdo.

Texture artfully.

The Texture Monster is always on the prowl and it will devour your painting in mere seconds if you fall into a texture trance.

So beware!

Learn More:

Learn HUNDREDS of Digital Painting Techniques & Time-Savers when you subscribe to The Magic Box at The Oatley Academy!

If you want to inject even more humanity into your digital paintings, try a custom rotation control for your Photoshop Brushes.

You might also want to see my other digital painting tutorials.

Subscribe & Get My FREE Digital Painting Kit!

[ I will never spam you or share your information ]

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }


Ooooh, rescources, I love rescources! *munches on all the info*

Great post packed with everything you need to make textures. :) I’m planning on using textures in my comic to give it a more handmade look, so this will come in handy for the tests that I need to do. Thanks!


Chris Oatley

Thanks, Henrike! I can’t WAIT to see what you come up with in your comic!


Shawna JC Tenney

Henrike- I’m excited to see where your new texture skills will take you! :)


Tegan Clancy

Shawna! great video!!!!! I will totally use your tips!


Chris Oatley

Me too!


Seth Greenwald

Me three!! I can’t wait to get home from work and try this. I am going to combine it with a technique I am developing that I hope will give a quasi random vitality to my images. I wrote a PS script in which you pick a value, and it randomizes the hue and saturation. This is intended to be used under a desaturate layer, allowing you to create an accurate value painting, yet have vibrant color variation. This can be shifted with color balance, or painted directly over. If anyone is interested, I’d be more than happy to share my script!


Shawna JC Tenney

Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed it and have fun with it! Seth, this color script thing sounds very interesting- I totally don’t know how to install it, but it would be interesting to try.


Photography Tricks

Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What web host are you using?
Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol


Chris Oatley

I use Synthesis Web Hosting.

They are amazing. Not only does the site load lightning-fast, but they have rock-solid security, almost 100% up-time and the support staff is so incredible, it’s like having your own personal IT department.

They don’t have an affiliate program but I REALLY appreciate the kind thought!

Oh, and I’m glad you like the site!


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